Temasek Poly student's dream internship in Mauritius
Temasek Polytechnic course allows student to spend five months at dream island resort
The balmy beaches and clear waters of Mauritius make for ideal escapades.
And that is where Miss Janel Chee, 19, spent a five-month internship as part of Temasek Polytechnic's Diploma in Leisure and Events Management course.
As a guest relations officer, the final-year student received, ate with and translated for tourists, mostly from China, at Club Med Albion, an all-inclusive resort.
Celebrities' Instagram snaps in Mauritius have made the Indian Ocean island nation a honeymoon hotspot among Chinese couples.
Miss Chee remembers that it was an awkward start. She was hesitant about her fluency in Mandarin, and the Chinese guests were initially not used to having the staff join in for meals.
But towards the end of their stays, they gladly passed her their name cards.
Miss Chee told The New Paper: "Guest interactions soon became my favourite moments. It is as if we are old friends who can talk about many things. Some have even offered to host me in their home country."
This bolstered her confidence in talking to strangers.
"Entertaining guests is my job but they are not going to approach me. So, I have to (muster my courage) and go up to them," Miss Chee said.
Also part of her job was entertaining and caring for four- to seven-year-old French and South African children in the resort's mini-club while their parents were off hiking and snorkelling.
She typically oversaw about 15 to 20 children daily, and the French words for "come", "sit down" and "toilet" soon became part of her day-to-day vocabulary.
"It was a challenge because (some of) these children do not understand English. If I mispronounced my words, they would stare back at me. That made me feel quite helpless," she said.
Working at the resort was a "dream come true" for Miss Chee - she had a memorable trip to the Club Med resort in Bintan when she was 12.
There, she participated in the mini-club's activities and engaged in water-balloon fights by the beach, facilitated by fun-loving guest relations officers.
She said: "Before I left, I told myself I want to work at (Club Med) next time."
The laid-back, friendly and hospitable Mauritians also made for a nice change of pace from hectic Singapore.
Strangers greeted and smiled at each other, while shopowners often attended to visitors by asking how their day was going.
"Everyone was enjoying life, and no one was in a rush. I had to get accustomed to that, which caught me off guard at first," Miss Chee said.
The internship has confirmed for Miss Chee that her passion lies in the service industry.
She said: "I don't want a desk-bound or mainstream job like being an accountant. I enjoy interacting with people by hearing their stories, which then become part of my story."
Beyond 'O' Level seminar
WHAT Temasek Polytechnic's Beyond 'O' Level Seminar
WHO Sec 4E & 5NA (2018 cohort) and students receiving O-level results in January, as well as their parents
WHEN Jan 6, Session 1 at 9.30am, Session 2 at 2pm. Doors open half an hour prior.
WHERE Temasek Polytechnic Auditorium 1
TICKETS Admission is free. Register online at www.tp.edu.sg/beyondolevel
For enquiries, call 6780-6556 or 6780-6027 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org